McCarry letter to editor: Summer Work Travel positively changes lives and improves America's image

The Newark Star-Ledger published on Friday a letter to the editor by Michael McCarry in which he asserts that the Exchange Visitor Program—and in particular the Summer Work Travel program—provides opportunities that have “positively changed lives and helped improve America’s standing in the world for 50 years.”

The full text of McCarry's letter is available on the Star-Ledger website, and below.

J-1 work-travel program offers valuable opportunities
Newark Star-Ledger (New Jersey)
September 10, 2011

Your Sept. 5 editorial "Not such a sweet job deal" and related Q&A inaccurately generalize about a cultural exchange program that has positively changed lives and helped improve America’s standing in the world for 50 years.

The Summer Work Travel program provides opportunities for international university students to visit America on their summer breaks. Through interaction with their host employers, co-workers and tourists, students are able to enjoy true cultural exchange experiences while underwriting the cost of their living and program expenses through short-term employment, lasting no more than four months. Popular jobs include beach and ski resorts, amusement parks and national parks.

Surveys consistently show that more than 90 percent of participating students have outstanding experiences. U.S. embassies will attest that program alumni build a reservoir of long-term good will that supports our bilateral relationships around the world. International students continue to use this program because of its success.

The situation in Palmyra, Pa., demands quick resolution and we are encouraged by the Department of State’s investigation. We hope it will be assessed for what it is: an unusual, unfortunate event in a very successful program.

Michael McCarry
Executive director, Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange